This case brings us back to the early 2000’s, the prime time of reality TV. We had the start of shows like Survivor, American Idol, The Bachelor, The Osbourne’s and the birth of celebrity dating shows like Flavor of Love featuring Flavor Flav and Rock of Love, with Bret Michaels.
Megan Hauserman, a former playboy model appeared on season 3 of a reality competition show called Beauty and the Geek – where she and her partner won the $250,000 prize.
From there, she was cast on the second season of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and became a fan favorite due to her sassy attitude. She continued her reality TV career on various shows like I Love Money and Rock of Love: Charm School.
She was also remembered for saying if she won the prize money on I Love Money she would use it to help “mentally challenged dogs”.
She was finally given her own dating show called Megan Wants a Millionaire.
Mark Cronin, co-founder of 51 Minds Entertainment, the production company behind a lot of these shows said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly “The funny thing about Megan was her stated ambition, which was to marry a millionaire. So we said, ‘What if we filled a house with millionaires and they were competing for you as their trophy wife?”
The premise of ‘Megan Wants a Millionaire’ was for Megan to find a rich partner. When she sent a contestant home, she would cut their credit card in half and tell them ‘your card has been declined’.
VH1’s casting notice for the show called for “single men of the highest pedigree with the net worth of $1,000,000 or more.” Casting producers placed ads on radio stations and threw “casting parties” at nightclubs looking for candidates.
Eventually they found 32-year-old real estate developer Ryan Jenkins in Las Vegas, where he won the team over with his cocky charm. “Ryan Jenkins had one of the best personalities on this planet,” says Christopher Catalano, who worked as a senior casting producer at the time. “He was intriguing, he knew it. He wasn’t the best-looking guy in the world — he just had this charisma.”
Megan Wants a Millionaire debuted on August 2nd 2009, but only 3 episodes would air before being put on hiatus.
On the premiere episode, Ryan referred to himself as “a little bit of a Prince Charming and a little bit of a bad boy.”
Megan liked Ryan from day one and he ended up making it all the way to the finale.
In an interview after the show was pulled from VH1, Megan said Ryan was closer to winning the show than anyone realized saying, “I actually really liked Ryan and I wanted to pick him as the winner. I got his phone number and called him when we weren’t filming. We would talk on the phone at night. We were having a phone relationship outside of filming, which no one knew about. I basically told him ‘I’m going to pick you.’”
When Megan told the producers who she was going to choose, they explained that Ryan wasn’t likable in his interviews and was just putting on a show for her. They never explicitly told her not to choose him, but they made it clear to Megan that viewers would be upset if he won and encouraged her to rethink her choice.
“He was really upset, and I was upset also,” Megan said.There were only a few days left of filming and Megan planned to call him once production wrapped to smooth things over.
She said “I figured I would just call him and explain to him that, you know, it’s a TV show and the story wasn’t going that way. I wanted to pick him and couldn’t. And then I thought I would just meet up with him afterwards.”
When they finally spoke, Ryan had something to tell Megan. He told her, “I have to tell you something. I was so upset when I left the show. I went to Vegas and I met a girl. She’s my soulmate and we got married.”
One of the producers noted Ryan’s sudden marriage made sense in a way “He was really desperate to have a trophy wife. When he eventually lost on the show, he very quickly found himself another blonde in Vegas and married her. I think that was him trying to win the show in the end.”
The woman Ryan married was Jasmine Fiore, a 28-year-old swimsuit model from Santa Cruz, CA. She frequently worked as a body-painted model for industry parties and appeared in shows at casinos in Las Vegas. She also appeared in commercials for adult phone lines.
She had been engaged once before, but broke it off in 2007.
Jasmine met Ryan at a Las Vegas Casino shortly after he finished filming Megan Wants a Millionaire. Two days later (March 18, 2009) the two married at The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Vegas Strip.
In June 2009, Ryan was charged with “battery constituting domestic violence” after he hit Jasmine.
A witness said Ryan and Jasmine were arguing over her kissing someone else and Ryan hit Jasmine in the arm causing her to fall into a nearby swimming pool.
Ryan’s father, Dan Jenkins, later said in a statement to Vancouver Sun “He grabbed her hand and tried to leave. They argued, he pushed her away and she fell in the pool. He spent two horrific days in jail – for pushing someone in a swimming pool!! Sometime later he would say to me ‘Dad – I cannot spend another day in jail for questioning – not one more day – I would rather die.’”
Ryan would go to trial in December 2009 for the charge and the two ended up reconciling shortly after the incident.
Lisa Lepore, Jasmine’s mother, claimed that the two fought frequently and that Ryan was jealous of Jasmine’s friendships with ex-boyfriends. She also told The Associated Press in an interview that Ryan and Jasmine’s marriage was annulled in May 2009, but there are no court records of an annulment.
Dan Jenkin, Ryan’s father, said that Jasmine was Ryan’s only friend in California and that she would disappear for days at a time and lie about it.
Mark Cronin, the co-founder of the production company, remembered Ryan calling Jasmine repeatedly while filming I Love Money 3 (a show he was on after Megan Wants a Millionaire that wrapped in early August, 2009) in Mexico.
“He kept telling her on the phone, ‘I’m going to win this, and you and I are going to have the life I’ve always promised.’ Then he would ask her, ‘Where were you last night?’ Because he’s in Mexico shooting the show, and she lives in Las Vegas. He was very jealous and very suspicious of her. We were actually making a story of it on the show. We were like, ‘Look at this guy, he’s obsessed with this model he married… It was funny, until it wasn’t funny at all.”
The Murder & Investigation
On August 13th, 2009 Jasmine and Ryan checked into the L’Auberge (low-behrzh) Hotel in Del Mar, San Diego. They were attending a charity poker tournament for the Carma Foundation that weekend at the Del Mar Hilton.
Surveillance video captured Ryan and Jasmine leaving the event around 2:30 am on August 14th. They were then seen at the Ivy Hotel, a nightclub in downtown San Diego.
A source that was with the couple that night told ABC News “Jasmine was playing poker with a big group of friends at the Hilton Hotel. She was being very rude and kept putting Ryan down. It was really awkward. She has a cutting sense of humor. He was getting really angry and it totally set the tone for the rest of the evening.”
Around 4:30 am, Ryan returned to the L’Aberge (low-behrzh) hotel alone. Jasmine was not seen alive again.
Ryan checked out of the hotel around 9 a.m. that day
Around 7 am the following day, (August 15th), the badly beaten and nude body of a female was found inside a suitcase in a dumpster in Buena Park, CA.
According to the Buena Park Police Department, the woman’s teeth and fingertips had been removed before her body was stuffed into the suitcase as an attempt to impede identification. They could also tell she was strangled to death.
Ryan reported Jasmine missing to police around 8:55 pm later that day.
He said he last saw Jasmine around 8:30 pm the night before at their home in Los Angeles. He said they had gone to San Diego for a poker event and once they returned she dropped him off to run some errands but she never returned.
In a lengthy statement given by Ryan’s father to the Vancouver Sun he said in part – “Monday, August 17th, I was on a holiday when Ryan called to tell me he was driving home to Canada. He sadly recounted that Jasmine had left him again. He said they had returned from San Diego early Friday evening, she had gone out saying she needed to run an errand and had not come back. By late Saturday afternoon he went to the LAPD and reported her missing.”
On August 18th, the remains were identified as Jasmine using the serial number from her breast implant.
The Orange County Coroner’s office reported that Jasmine had died a couple hours before her body was found.
Jasmine’s white Mercedes was found abandoned in a parking lot in West Hollywood, about a mile from the penthouse she shared with Ryan. The interior of her car was covered with blood.
“There was a significant portion of blood, that it would appear a violent struggle did occur in the vehicle,” Buena Park, Calif., police Sgt. Roger Powell said.
The blood was found on Jasmine’s passenger seat, backseat and rear windshield, and there was evidence of attempts to wipe it away.
Powell also said, “The blood loss appears to be more significant in the backseat area, so it would appear that the injuries that we had originally seen Miss Fiore sustain are consistent with the blood loss that would have been in that vehicle. There was some hair evidence taken from inside the vehicle on the floor. So, some hair pulling did take place. That’s still being processed. We don’t know whether that’s from the victim or the suspect.”
The vehicle also had mud, weeds and twigs on the undercarriage, suggesting it went off road.
Around 9 am on August 16th, Ryan is seen leaving their penthouse for the last time. Investigators said he left Los Angeles and went to Nevada to pick up his speedboat
When police contacted him the next day (August 17th), Ryan said he was in Utah heading to Canada to resolve some immigration issues.
On August 19th, Ryan called his father who informed him Jasmine had been murdered (remember – her body was identified on Aug. 18)
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department received a witness report of Ryan’s black BMW SUV towing a boat toward the Canada-US border. Police later found the vehicle and an empty boat trailer at a marina in Blaine, Washington. The engine was still warm when they found the car.
At this time, Ryan was the only person of interest in the investigation. He had not been charged, but Canadian authorities had been alerted to look out for him.
US Coast Guard and US Customs & Border Protection confirmed they had boats patrolling the northwest Washington waters looking for Ryan as early as August 19th. It is believed Ryan crossed into Canada sometime between August 19th & 20th.
On August 20th, an arrest warrant was issued for Ryan in regard to Jasmine’s murder.
That same day, Ryan called his father – who was detained at the airport – but Ryan’s father had to hang up on him.
From Ryan’s dad’s statement: “On Wednesday morning, I heard the awful news that Jasmine had been found murdered. I started trying to reach Ryan. I got a call from Ryan that afternoon from Birch Bay. I told him that I had heard that Jasmine had been found murdered. He was in shock and broke down crying. I assume he panicked and thinking he might be a suspect, he jumped in his boat and drove to Point Roberts so he could reach Vancouver where much of his family lived. I caught a plane to Vancouver the next morning and was detained at the airport – the authorities said they wanted to find Ryan for illegal entry into Canada. While I was in line at Customs he called me but I was told to hang up the phone – cell phones were not allowed. Tragically, that was the last time I heard my son’s voice.”
6 pm, August 20th: Ryan arrived in a silver PT Cruiser that had Alberta license plates with a young blonde woman at the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.
The manager recalled they pulled up beside a dumpster rather than beside the rooms – which was strange.
Ryan stayed in the car while the young woman paid cash for a 3 night stay.
The hotel manager described the woman as attractive, about 25-30 years old, and very calm.
The guest in the room next door said the woman only stayed for about 20 minutes and then left the motel.
It was later discovered that the woman was Ryan’s half sister Alena Jenkins.
The manager also remembered seeing Ryan talking outside on the phone on August 21st. He said he looked exhausted and wasn’t recognizable from his picture on television.
At 11:30 am on August 23rd, Ryan failed to check out. The hotel manager decided to check the room and found Ryan’s body hanging from a clothes rack by a belt.
No suicide note was found at the motel. However, Police found a document saved on his computer titled “Last Will and Testament” dated August 20th, 2009.
Police said, “About half of the letter described how much he loved her, and in the same breath, he would talk about how frustrated she made him and that he felt very jealous about some of her relationships and that frustrated him immensely. There were some negative feelings about alleged infidelity. He did not acknowledge or take responsibility for the murder, but he did apologize to his family for all the negative attention that this case was generating.”
Following the announcement that Ryan was charged with Jasmine’s murder, VH1 put Megan Wants a Millionaire on indefinite hiatus out of respect for Jasmine’s family – this is why only 3 episodes ever aired. They also deleted the show’s page from the official VH1 website and dropped reruns of past episodes from its schedule.
It subsequently emerged that Ryan had not only been charged with assaulting Jasmine, but had been convicted two years earlier for assaulting a woman in Calgary. The production company said had they known about the incidents, Ryan would not have been allowed on the show.
VH1 had hired Collective Intelligence, a private investigation firm, to perform background checks on potential contestants. Collective Intelligence doesn’t perform background checks outside the United States, and outsourced the vetting of Ryan to a Canadian firm, Straightline International.
In 2009, Collective Intelligence sued Straightline for breach of contract. The suit alleged that Straightline had falsely told Collective Intelligence that Ryan’s record was clean, and had also failed to check Ryan against the RCMP criminal database.
Collective Intelligence claimed to have lost valuable business from Viacom (owner of VH1), NBC and ABC as a result of the damage to its reputation.
Collective Intelligence won their lawsuit in July 2011.
The day after Ryan’s death, VH1 Officially announced the show was cancelled and that it would not run the third season of I Love Money, which Ryan had reportedly won.
Jasmine’s mom Lisa Lepore defended Jasmine against Ryan’s accusations.
“That’s such a bunch of lies, he’s been making excuses since the day he met her. He’s the one who was fraudulent.”
She said Ryan would use Jasmine’s car to bring women back to their apartment when she wasn’t home and that he’d hide her things so it looked like a bachelor pad.
“It’s so horrible what he did. Her life was cut short just as she was about to see so many of her goals come true. I wish I could just go hide somewhere and never think of him again.”
“I think no one will ever know that this man was a professional con man. He targeted women. … He wanted to be something he wasn’t.”
Jasmine’s close friends and family attended a private funeral for her. The media reported it was “an extremely emotional event.”
According to someone in attendance, over 200 people gathered at the home where Jasmine grew up in Santa Cruz, CA to remember her. Family and friends read poems and told heartfelt stories.
Jasmine was cremated and her family said they were going to spread her ashes in Santa Cruz where she grew up.
Ryan’s father refuses to believe his son killed Jasmine.
On August 28th he gave a statement that said : “If Ryan had done such a thing, would he have filed a missing person’s report? Would he have listened to his Mom and driven home to Canada? If he was guilty of this crime, would he have casually driven to Las Vegas to collect his things, pull his boat out of the water and driven slowly north? Would he have talked with his lawyer in Vancouver? I totally believe that my son was innocent of this crime and believe that the last three days of his life were spent alone in a hotel room watching the media report that he was the brutal killer of his own wife. On television it was as if he had been tried and convicted. I think in his loneliness and despair he simply gave up. Ryan was an amazing young man. Everyone loved him. He was smart and talented and excelled at everything he ever attempted – from business to his athletic endeavors. He will be missed by me forever. It has been a week of absolute despair and I am deeply angered by his loss. I remain absolutely convinced that this gentle sweet young man was absolutely incapable of this crime. I understand that the police department is making progress in the case and once I am in better shape I intend to offer a reward for the capture of her killer. I offer my sincerest condolences for Jasmine’s family. Not only have two lives been lost but two families have been destroyed.”
When the news broke, Megan was staying at a friend’s apartment in LA. She said, “I was in the shower and my friend came running into the bathroom screaming that Ryan was on the TV. They showed his face and said he was a suspect and that they found Jasmine’s body.”
While he was on the run, Megan said she never left her apartment because she was scared he would come looking for her.
She said, “I try not to think too much about all this, but it’s hard not to. This was such a close call. Jasmine and I could have been interchangeable.”